Simone Biles wore a teal leotard at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships over the weekend for an important reason.
“The color teal is for sexual abuse survivors and I think it’s very special,” the Olympian told the “Today” show on Thursday. “So I got to wear it this morning and I also got to wear it day two of competition for all of us to unite and for me to support all of them.”
The teal ribbon became a symbol of sexual assault awareness and prevention in the early 2000s and is often worn in April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Biles, who won a record-breaking fifth U.S. all-around title this past weekend, is one of over 250 athletes who have accused former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar of sexual abuse. Nassar, who also worked as a doctor at Michigan State University, is now serving three concurrent prison sentences that mean he will spend the rest of his life behind bars.
“It feels like he took a part of me that I can’t get back,” Biles, 21, said in an interview with NBC in January.
“The main part that he took away from that I’ll never get back is trust, and so I think it’s very hard for me to trust some other people. I find myself even walking down the street, or being in places, I’m just very scared,” she added. “But I think it will all come back in time.”